Early Childhood

Study after study has shown that children’s early experiences and the relationships they have with their adult caregivers before the age of five will have a profound impact on the rest of their lives. And consequently, on the rest of our lives, and that of our state. Children not supported in these areas can have a very real negative impact on the economy and prosperity of their communities. In order to help Louisiana grow, we have to help our young children.

Importance of Early Childhood

"As states are under constant pressure to improve the efficient use of ever dwindling financial resources, any investment away from young children can be viewed as a diversion of resources from the most efficient use of those funds."

  • James Heckman, Nobel Laureate in Economics, University of Chicago (Click here to see a video of James Heckman)

"According to neuroscience and child development research, brain development proceeds at a faster pace between conception and the first day of kindergarten than during any subsequent stage of life. In the early years, basic capacities such as trust, self-confidence, empathy, and curiosity are established. How people think, learn, reason, and relate to others throughout their lives is rooted in their early relationships, experiences, and environments."

  • Common Vision, Different Paths: Five States' Journey Toward Comprehensive Prenatal-to-Five Systems, Institute for Educational Leadership and ZERO TO THREE.

"Investment in early childhood development, if properly funded and managed, yields an extraordinary return, far exceeding the return on most public investments. Any proposed economic development list should have early childhood development at the top."

  • Arthur J. Rolnick, Senior VP and Director of Research,
    Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

What these experts are saying is key—it is imperative that we do what we can to help young children ages zero to five develop into healthy, productive adults. For their sakes, as well as our own economic development. The evidence from economics, neuroscience and child development all supports the high economic return of investing in early childhood.

As a child's most important brain development occurs before age five, their early experiences are critical to learning throughout life. Children who begin school behind typically remain behind, and research demonstrates that as many as half of school failures may be due to gaps in learning and development before they even enter school. So, plainly put—the benefits of prevention efforts targeting early childhood are less costly and more effective than trying to make up for deficits later.

For information on the state of early childhood in Louisiana, click here.

© 2013 BrightStart Louisiana. All Rights Reserved.